Tuesday, March 15, 2011

I Myself Was Once President of Algeria

Lately, Giorgio Moroder has been getting me through my workday and making me feel nostalgic for a time and a place that I never actually knew, at least from first-hand experience.

Previously, I only was only familiar with him as the guy who scored the Cat People remake, and who with David Bowie wrote that movie’s theme song. It’s better known by its subtitle, “Putting Out Fire,” and, at that, it’s know probably best known as Shoshanna’s “battle paint” song from Inglourious Basterds. But Moroder had gotten his little synthetic wonderments into a lot of movies — everything from Neverending Story to Scarface, though that range indicates how much work he is now doing in mainstream movies. Just yesterday I stumbled across the chase theme from Midnight Express, which I didn’t notice sounding like such a dance party when I watched the movie. (Subject matter probably had something to do with it.) Listen for yourself:

True, it sounds like the incongruously upbeat disco tracks from the Italian horror movies I like so much — in particular, it reminds me of the opening theme to Tenebre, which got remade by Justice, which the Midnight Express track sounds like anyway. But the best connection I can make here goes back to The Simpsons and the curious tendency for that show to have taught me about pop-cultural works that I wouldn’t actually experience until much later. In the second “Treehouse of Horror,” the Simpsons travel to Morocco, where Homer is briefly apprehended by Moroccan authorities. The scene, I realize now, parodies Midnight Express, and the synthy soundtrack that appears in that scene is a riff on Moroder’s score. Hear it for yourself, at about 54 seconds in:

That’s totally it. And I basically had all the pieces this whole time, just took this long to put them together.

— “You must pay a fine of two American dollars!”
— “… Okay.”


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